London, UK -- The Yangon Region High Court has rejected an appeal by two incarcerated Reuters journalists, Thet Oo Maung (a.k.a Wa Lone) and Kyaw Soe Oo, and upheld the original seven years prison sentence passed on them by the Yangon Northern District Court. The pair were arrested on 12 December 2017 and they were sentenced on 3 September last year. The journalists were arrested after their work exposed a massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Inn Din Village, which the military was then forced to admit occurred.
“These men have been imprisoned to intimidate the free press in Burma and punish those who expose the military. They should be celebrated for their work, but instead, they continue to suffer in prison unjustly for it. Burma has clearly shown the world that it will not stand for free speech if it is against their own interest,” said BHRN’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win.
London, UK -- The Burma Human Rights Network is alarmed by reports of Burmese military and police arbitrarily detaining ethnic Rakhine villagers following fighting between the Burmese military and the Rakhine ethnic armed group, the Arakan Army. Fears have also emerged that aid may be blocked to Rakhine villages suspected of aiding or sheltering Arakan Army fighters, as has been done in the past.
“Civilians are always those who suffer most from war and conflict, and it is imperative that the Burmese army respect the human rights of the Rakhine civilians in the areas they are operating in. The use of collective punishment and arbitrary detention by the Burmese Army is not only a violation of human rights but furthers resentment among civilians and will ultimately prolong the conflict,” Said BHRN’s Executive Director Kyaw Win.
London, UK -- A mob of 50 people, including three Monks, in Setsi village in Ann Township, Rakhine State attacked a group of Christian worshippers on December 24th in a temporary shelter set up to celebrate Christmas. One Christian priest was injured in the attack and was admitted to the hospital. The leader of the Tidim Baptist Convention, Salai Aung Lai, said the group would lodge a complaint against the attackers with the police and will also write a letter to the President to inform him of the attack. He said the event was organised with permission from the local authorities.
“Non-Buddhists in Burma have been under persecution for decades and these recent events further demonstrate the dangers of religious nationalism inside of the country. The Burmese Authorities must ensure the human rights of minorities and prosecute those responsible for these horrendous attacks,” said Burma Human Rights Network’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win.